Maractus (Poké Monday 7/4/16)

 RNG (Maractus)

Tier: PU
Type: Grass
Base Stats: 75 HP, 86 Atk, 67 Def, 106 Sp.Atk, 67 Sp.Def, 60 Speed
Abilities: Water Absorb, Chlorophyll, Storm Drain (hidden)

Usable moves: Bullet Seed, Cotton Guard, Drain Punch, Energy Ball, Façade, Frustration, Giga Drain, Grass Knot, Hidden Power (Electric, Fighting, Fire, Ice), Hyper Voice, Knock Off, Leech Seed, Petal Blizzard, Petal Dance, Poison Jab, Protect, Rest, Return, Seed Bomb, Sleep Talk, Spikes, Spiky Shield, Substitute, Sucker Punch, Synthesis, Toxic, Wood Hammer

Overview

I wonder whose idea it was to add another cactus to the Pokémon franchise, let alone one inferior to the one introduced in Generation III. Then again, Cacturne is a tier above Maractus, so I guess the latter is the best cactus legal in PU.

Still, that doesn’t make Maractus entirely worth using, even in its native tier. In terms of raw stats, it is the strongest Grass-type special attacker in the tier, but it lacks the secondary STAB (and any non-Grass-type special attack besides Hidden Power) to measure up to the likes of Roselia, not to mention its lead is by the smallest of margins (i.e., only 1 point above Sunflora). On the flip side, its physical movepool is decent—consisting of good STAB and unorthodox options in Drain Punch, Knock Off, and Sucker Punch—but its base Attack leaves much to be desired (and the lack of reliable boosting moves doesn’t help its cause).

In terms of support options, I suppose it’s notable that Maractus is the only PU-legal user of Spiky Shield (brought to you by ΩRαS), but it evidently lacks the bulk to use the move properly. Spikes is also a nifty support option, but Quilladin and Roselia are objectively better users of the move (the former from more of a defensive standpoint and the latter from more of an offensive standpoint).

Maractus is tied with Tangela for fastest specially oriented Chlorophyll user, but Tangela is superior in that regard due to its greater bulk and access to Sleep Powder.

What can I say at this point? I guess you could try to make Maractus offensive, giving it Spikes and taking advantage of its odd movepool and quasi-unique access to Storm Drain (which, although redundant on a Grass-type, is virtually the only boosting option to which it has access).

Set

Maractus @ Life Orb
Ability: Storm Drain
EVs: 168 Atk / 252 SpA / 88 Spe
Mild Nature
– Giga Drain
– Sucker Punch
– Hidden Power [Rock]
– Spikes

This is a strange little mixed set that capitalizes on Maractus’s relatively high Special Attack, relatively unique ability in Storm Drain, and access to Spikes and Sucker Punch. Giga Drain is its STAB of choice; Energy Ball may be more powerful, but the passive recovery is too good to pass up (especially with Life Orb and no other form of recovery). Hidden Power Rock is (sadly) the best coverage option to go with its Grass STAB, dealing better damage to Fire-, Flying-, and Bug-types. Sucker Punch somewhat compensates for its low Speed tier and deals respectable chip damage even with Maractus’s merely average base 86 Attack. Spikes is a nifty hazard to which few PU-legal Pokémon but Maractus have access, so might as well make good use of it, right?

Life Orb is the obvious item choice to make the best use of its offenses, and Storm Drain is its best “don’t-get-outclassed” Ability option. As for the EVs, the Speed investment serves to creep past uninvested base 70s, even with the Speed sacrifice of Hidden Power Rock. The most notable base 70 in this case is Politoed, to whom this set can deal massive damage with Giga Drain (especially if given a Storm Drain boost) before it gets Ice Beamed. The choice of Mild Nature is to capitalize on its strong Special Attack stat while reducing the least worthwhile stat—in this case being Defense because it will most likely be taking special attacks if anything.

Other Option

The only other option is to not use Maractus. Plain and simple.

Sample Team

http://pastebin.com/am32eb7j – If I had to name one problem with this team, it’s that it has not much to show for offense aside from Floatzel and…admittedly, Maractus.

This team contains:

  • Maractus (set above)
  • Camerupt as a lure for Water-type attacks and a Stealth Rock setter
  • Floatzel to complete the Fire-Water-Grass core, and for strong offense in general
  • Armaldo for hazard control (and perhaps another lure for Water-type attacks)
  • Audino for clerical support
  • Ditto in case an opposing sweeper goes rogue enough that it’s beyond the control of the rest of the team (IVs tuned for Hidden Power Electric because a faster Water-type attacker is most likely to break down the rest of the team)
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